Having spent over a fortnight in Vancouver and not doing any ‘touristing’ we decided to take a break from the repetitive Home Depot visits and book a short trip to Vancouver Island. It would be the first small road trip we did with Betty, and she didn’t disappoint!
Vancouver Island is famous for it’s beautiful Pacific Rim national park, and also as the surfing spot for Canada. With this in mind, we booked a few nights in Tofino, the main surf town. Annie had surfed once before years ago in Australia and Mikey had also surfed once before a few years ago in Peru so we were both pretty much beginners. We came with Mike (Mikeys cousin) & his friend Raj from university.
The journey from the ferry port to Tofino was absolutely beautiful, and definitely the nicest roads we’d ever driven on. On the way we stopped at a famous market ‘Goats on the Roof’ where in summer the goats live on the roof of the building.
Tofino reminded us of a ski resort town. The streets were as empty as a school playground during lesson time, and people in the shops and around the beaches reminded us of ski reps. A younger vibe, with a complete focus around surfing reflected in the laid back nature of the restaurants and bars. One night we didn’t decide to eat until 9pm and our options were limited down to only one restaurant! Hardly New York levels of activity… but equally hardly New York levels of stress.
We decided to take a surf lesson for the four of us, as despite having all surfed before we thought it would probably be a good idea – the whole ‘you never forget how to ride a bike’ doesn’t really apply after one surf session. Our instructor Ryan was an absolutely lovely guy, and such a through and through surfer. Needless to say he was totally stoked to have us surfing! He got us all standing up on our first day, and we followed up with a further two days of surfing to hone in our newly found skills.
Tacofina. What a place for lunch. Likely the most famous food joint in Tofino, famous for you guessed it – Tacos! We came here a couple of times and it made us evermore excited for Mexico. Definitely a boost to get the van back on the road!Back to the surf after lunch, it’s hard not to remember the line from the titanic when we think about our time in the Pacific; “Anyway, I fell through some thin ice and I’m telling ya, water that cold, like right down there, it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body”. Wetsuits are incredible inventions! That said, they’re pretty uncomfortable. Mikey tried to brave the water without the head part of the wetsuit, only competitive stubborn nature kept it off and there was a barrel full of regret that day.
There’s also more to Tofino than just surfing, and after realising we weren’t going to be competing any time soon we handed our boards back and ventured out into the Pacific trails which we’d heard so much about. Some of the reviews included ‘these treks change my life’ etc (all very Tofino-esque!). Not quite how we felt… but the advantage of off season travel means we had the trails to ourself and they were truly beautiful. We happened to stumble upon a coastline akin to a set from the beach, albeit without the same climate.
We also did a bit of a DIY trek, one which isn’t an official trail. We found it on a blog, along the lines of ‘go to the 5th lamppost, take a left through the derelict building’ etc. The trek wasn’t one we’re in a rush to repeat. It felt quite novel following ribbons other adventurous travellers had left, but balancing on logs over bogs gets old after about an hour! The prize at the end is pretty spectacular though, a WWII bomber which was downed due to a suspected engine failure. Luckily the whole crew survived, but the plane hasn’t been recovered probably due to the boggy nightmare of getting there! Well worth a visit if you’re ever on the island though.
We headed to Victoria, the capital of BC for our last night and stayed at a hostel for the first time in a while! We did end up getting a little tipsy, but through not fault of the hostel which featured weird, wonderful and cliquey characters. We opted for a local draft brewery and stayed till closing. Apologies, we didn’t recall to take any photos!
We enjoyed our time on the island – but it’s time to head back to the mainland. We’re itching to get our build finished now. Updates to follow soon!